The University of Cape Town (UCT) remains South Africa’s top tertiary institution – and leads the continent – with a jump of 15 places from 171st to 156th position in the latest 2019 Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings results.
The THE rankings uses five main categories, comprising 13 metrics, in the following proportions: teaching 30%, research 30%, citations 30%, international outlook 7.5%, and industry income 2.5%.
The university improved its scores in four of the five areas, compared with last year’s results:
The only area in which UCT’s score was down was in the Industry Income category, which decreased to 87.6 from 88.5 last year.
However, in spite of the slight drop in the Industry Income category, which reflects the impact on and contribution to industry of UCT’s research, this category reflected the university’s strongest performance. The ranking also improved by two places, to 60th position, among all universities across the world.
Although the International Outlook category score improved, UCT was ranked 138th worldwide (down 12 places from the previous position). International staff and student numbers continue to grow at UCT, while collaboration with international partners continues to flourish.
“The reputation survey scores within these categories have increased, which indicates the university’s good international reputation among leading academics.”
UCT’s overall scores in both the Teaching and Research categories increased. The reputation survey scores within these categories have increased, which indicates the university’s good international reputation among leading academics.
The significant increase in the Research category saw a jump of 51 places to 173rd position globally.
Despite the improved Teaching category score, UCT’s ranking slipped 20 places, serving as a reminder that rankings are relative, and that a decline in ranking doesn’t always reflect a drop in performance. It could simply mean other institutions improved relative to UCT.
The Citations category score, which measures the number of times a piece of research is cited or referred to, improved slightly, although UCT is now ranked 156th worldwide – previously 133rd.
Gerda Kruger, UCT’s executive director of communication and marketing, welcomed the news of the university’s significant improvement in the latest rankings.
“The notable improved score in the research area confirms UCT as a research-intensive institution whose cutting-edge research makes a distinctive contribution to both the local and global knowledge pools, and produces solutions to challenges facing our continent and our world.“
“The notable improved score in the research area confirms UCT as a research-intensive institution whose cutting-edge research makes a distinctive contribution to both the local and global knowledge pools.”
Pioneering new methods
She added that UCT’s improved teaching score aligned with the university’s goal of broadening students’ academic perspectives, and cultivating more critical citizens through “the renewal of our approach to teaching and learning, and the pioneering of new methods”.
“The improved score on International Outlook underscores UCT as a destination of choice for international students,” Kruger said.
The news comes just weeks after the announcement that UCT had maintained its top position in Africa for graduate employability, and stood at 18th in the world for graduate employment (in work after one year), according to the 2019 Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) Graduate Employability Rankings.
The university’s position as the leading African university in terms of graduate employability put UCT just outside the top 100 institutions globally.
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